SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — It’s been more than two weeks since plywood starting going up over doors and windows of commercial buildings in downtown San Francisco — all because of concerns surrounding the presidential election.
Now, more than a week after Election Day, many businesses are still barricaded.
Some shops in Union Square have their holiday merchandise on displays, but you’d hardly know it because all of the plywood covering the plate glass doors and windows.
“It’s a little intimidating,” one man said. “We are used to working downtown, at lunchtime would be a great time to walk around in Union Square and look at the windows, kind of get a little lost in the beauty of the area and now they covered up it’s a little sad.”
Some barricades are covering businesses that have gone under because of coronavirus. But many are merchants who put up the wood, or sometimes even metal, because of concerns about rioting and looting erupting in the wake of the presidential election.
More than a week past Election Day, with President Trump so far refusing to concede to president-elect Joe Biden, some businesses are hesitant to take their protective plywood back down.
“There could be some uncertainty if the president contest the election,” Karin Flood said. “We’re just trying to protect ourselves but we do want people to know the stores are open down here even if the boards are up.”
Karin Flood with the Union Square Business Improvement District says about 10-15 merchants have already taken down their barricades and more are expected to follow suit soon. But some may stay braced for trouble into January, just in case.
People who live and work downtown say they don’t like it, but they get it.
“There’s no way to predict what will happen and probably nothing but probably not good enough if you’re a store owner with this plate glass window,” one woman said.
Because of the pandemic, Union Square already won’t have ice skating this year. But the tree lighting will happen in a mostly virtual ceremony next week.
The Menorah will still be lit and soon they will start projecting a light show at night to help inject a little bit of holiday magic in a year that really needs it.